The Virginia Tech Hokies took on the Panthers of High Point on Tuesday night at Cassell Coliseum. When the under-4 media timeout came in the first half, the lead was 58-25. That should tell you about everything you need to know about this game. The Hokies jumped out to an huge early lead and won easily 99-72.
The Hokies had four players in double figures, including two starters. Ahmed Hill led the offensive attack, scoring 20 points on 7-12 shooting including 6-11 from behind the 3 point line. Seth Allen contributed 17 points and five assists. True freshman Khadim Sy continues to shine in his orange and maroon debut season, scoring 12 points and grabbing six rebounds. Zach LeDay was his normal self, chipping in his 12 points and five rebounds.
The overall story of this game is how efficient the Hokies offense was in the first half, and what that could mean going forward in the season. Virginia Tech made eight three-pointers and shot 72% overall from the field in the first half. While it didn’t keep up in the second half — partly because of the zone that High Point dropped into — that type of production in the first half showed what this team is capable in the games to come.
In the second half, with High Point dropping into a 2-3 zone, the Hokies offense slowed down as you would expect. However, the team showed great passing ability, moving the ball around the perimeter of the zone crisply and efficiently and allowing for inside passing lanes to be found which led to easy layups for Sy, LeDay, and Johnny Hamilton.
There are several bright spots that come from tonight, but this game also allowed for some things that Buzz Williams can address going forward. The Hokies shot 13-23 from the free throw line (56%). If this team wants to be competitive with the big boys in the ACC, they are going to have to take advantage of every opportunity for points to be put on the board. That especially is true with free throws. Johnny Hamilton was subpar, just like last year, and Chris Clarke also struggled from the stripe as well.
Another point for Williams and his coaching staff to address would be all the cross court passes that were being thrown around against the Panthers zone. While it might be effective against a lower tier opponent, the Hokies are going to have to be smarter with the ball when they get into ACC play. The first half was a great example of that.
All in all, this game showed the potential that the Hokies have on their roster this year. The balance is finally there, with Sy showing to be a very solid post player for a true freshman — something that Buzz Williams couldn’t have said the past couple years. Couple that with the outside presence of Hill, Allen, Bibbs, and Outlaw, and the offensive unit could be highly competitive in league play.
The Hokies are back in action at home on Saturday against VMI.
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